Clif Bar, Sun Light & Power, and Alta Planning & Design Win 2011 Bike-Friendly Business Awards

East Bay companies ride into work!

by Jen Prather Bicycle Coalition Press & Media Intern OAKLAND, CA – The East Bay Bicycle Coalition announces the winners of its 2nd Annual Bike-Friendly Business Award:

For the 2nd year in a row, the EBBC will recognize these three bike-friendly workplaces at our fabulous Bike Away from Work Party in Old Oakland on Bike to Work Day, Thursday, May 12, 2011.

“We have had numerous nominations from our members in the first two years of the competition,” said Renee Rivera, Executive Director of the EBBC, “and I wish we could make 30 awards instead of three. So many businesses in the East Bay realize that cycling to work makes their employees healthier, happier, and more productive. It’s good for business as well as for the planet. Each year, we recognize those companies, like Clif Bar, Sun Light & Power, and Alta Planning & Design, that have taken that extra step to motivate their employees to cycle to work.” Congratulations to three workplaces that set an example for all. CLIF BAR CLIF BAR is not only a nutritious snack. Originating as a concept while riding a bike, CLIF evolved into a holistic, environmentally conscious organization focused on creating an energy-boosting bar. The bar itself spawned from a bike ride adventure and the need to satisfy an appetite while exploring the outdoors. Whether it be for the morning commuter or the competitive rider, CLIF BAR has a place for everyone. Many supporters of CLIF BAR agree with this sentiment, making them one of three winners for the Bike-Friendly Business Awards in the East Bay. An especially remarkable program offered by CLIF BAR amongst an array of admirable accomplishments is the Cool Commute Program. Jen Freitas, CLIF’s Human Resources Manager, describes the program as an incentive for staff to choose biking as an alternative source of transportation to commute to work. By providing their employees “with $500 to use towards the purchase of a commuter bike or to make commute-related retrofits to an existing bike,” employees are supported in their efforts to reduce their carbon impact. In exchange for the cash reward, employees commit to biking to work at least twice a month or can pledge to take the 2-mile challenge.

Ryan Mayo, CLIF’s Environmental Activism Manager and his dog Buckley commuting to work

If this is not convincing enough, employees can also earn points for biking to work, another part of the Cool Commute Program. Such points can be used towards commuter checks, a cash boost in their paycheck, CLIF gear, and massages. Additionally points can be applied towards purchasing climate offsets—NativeEnergy wind energy credits and tress planted by American Forests. CLIF’s reputable eco-friendly acts reach out to the community through their development of the 2 Mile Challenge, a “nationwide campaign encouraging people to ride a bike instead of driving a car for trips of two miles or less.” This simple act is yet another way for CLIF employees and other community members to commit to protecting the environment. And it proves to be an enjoyable, attainable endeavor as Kim Miskowicz, CLIF’s account payable specialist, expresses that she “love[s] biking to work because [she] can commute at [her] own pace and…bookend a day of sitting in front of a computer.” In addition to CLIF’s on-going list of bicycle-friendly accommodations, nominees rave about the organization’s supply of onsite showers with towels, providing their employees with an allocated ½ hour per day to workout on-the-clock. And no need for a company car; employees also have the opportunity to share a CLIF bike to get around town. Sun Light & Power

Martin Pedley and Aurora Meerjans from Bike to Work Day 2009

Meet Sun Light & Power, the oldest Solar Company in California based out of our very own East Bay. Inherently a construction-based company, SLP shows exemplary bicycle-friendliness as most employees choose to live in close proximity to the central Berkeley office for accommodating biking to work. For off-site jobs, SLP also provides a company, biofuel-powered truck to transport employees and oversized construction materials. As active participants of East Bay Bicycle Coalition’s sponsored Bike to Work Day, SLP employees commemorated their 2010 Company Bike Challenge victory with custom designed t-shirts as a reminder of their employees’ dedication and dexterity for all the miles traveled to and from work on bike. The Company Bike Challenge is a part of the Team Bike Challenge. Kim Pedley, SLP’s Executive Assistant, praises SLP staff, explaining that “approximately 80% of employees participated in [last year’s] Bike to Work Challenge…includ[ing] every Manager [and] Executive.” Featured is SLP’s very own participant, Martin Aurora, posing for a quick photograph to celebrate the day’s event of East Bay community members committed to biking to work at last year’s Bike to Work Day event. Rain or sunshine, SLP employees are not inhibited by the East Bay’s fluctuating weather. Pedley adds that an average of 20 employees bike year round to work with numbers increasing during the sunny months. And to accommodate dedicated commuters, SLP installed a covered bike parking area as well as providing neon safety vests and bicycle maintenance tools on the premises for employees to share and use. Sun Light & Power is recognized for their collective style of practicing green ideologies through their commitment to “the reduction of global carbon footprint.” Pedley notes that SLP is environmentally conscious in a myriad of ways, ranging from office waste recycling to employee bike commuting, the company exemplifies multiple sustainable practices in-and-out of the office. As an award recipient of East Bay Bicycle Coalition’s Bike-Friendly Business Award, Sun Light & Power was nominated for their many ways of being bike-friendly, specifically by providing a fully-equipped company bike for running errands and hassle-free parking. The eclectic staff of engineers, system installers, project managers, electrical system designers and financial contractors comprise a stellar team who work together to provide services in alternative energy systems and designs for the community. Hand-in-hand with supporting alternative modes of transportation, Pedley emphasizes the company’s mission to “create living environments that serve people’s intrinsic needs” not only as a business but also as employees who represent a lifestyle committed to environmental preservation. Alta Planning & Design Introducing another winner of the Bicycle-Friendly Business Award: Alta Planning & Design. With its second largest office in Berkeley, Alta provides consultant services nationwide for bicycle and pedestrian planning and design. At the local level Alta supports bicycling as an integral part of the East Bay transportation system, creating design strategies that accommodate the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians. While focusing on strategies and solutions for healthier, safer bicycle commuting in the community, Alta also devotes time and effort to supporting their employees. Part of an extensive list of resources, employees receive great benefits such as access to secure bike parking in an enclosed garage, shower and sauna facilities, and annual stipends for bike tune-ups.

The Alta Planning and Design staff standing next to their
installed 12-bike parking spaces in their automobile parking stall.

The high-spirited bike-friendly business is staffed full of committed individuals (featured in the photograph) who volunteer their time to various East Bay advocacy groups and events—East Bay Bicycle Coalition, Alameda County Transportation Commission Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, the Oakland Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and Bike to Work Day. Over half of the Berkeley staff commutes on bike consistently to work, rain or shine, and every employee owns and rides a bicycle regularly. Alta is frequently described by employees as a “unique and great place to work” because of all the collaborative projects that are geared towards “mak[ing] bicycling more comfortable throughout the East bay and beyond.” While awarded for being a bicycle-friendly business, Alta’s noteworthy contribution towards supporting an active community of commuters is not limited to bicyclists. APD also advocates for the safety and comfort of pedestrian commuting. The company truly embodies their motto of “pathways to a greener future” by advocating for all types of alternative transportation systems. Bruce Wolff, planner of Alta, offers suggestions for other companies who strive to create a bicycle-friendly workplace by providing incentives for employees to bike to work. Wolff points out that to encourage alternative modes to driving, companies can “provide free parking only to the limited number of employees that need a car.” It is no surprise that local community members recognize Alta Planning & Design as a bicycle-friendly business. Nominees pointed out Alta’s impressive list of notable Bay Area projects—Metropolitan Transportation Commission Regional Bicycle Plan, Association of Bay Area Governments Bay Trail Gap Analysis, Alameda County Transportation Commission. Wolff adds that this award will help and inspire Alta to “continue and expand [their] East Bay partnerships and incentives in order to make Alameda and Contra Costa Counties leaders in bicycle infrastructure and outreach.” Runners up for 2011 include: the review committee for the Bike-Friendly Business Awards was also super-impressed with these bike-friendly workplaces QuEST Nomination by Virginia Lenander: “Everyone loves bikes at QuEST! The office makes it easy to ride to work with convenient indoor bike parking, showers available, a casual atmosphere that makes clothing appropriate for cycling appropriate for work too (though we don’t often walk around in Spandex), and fantastic enthusiasm and encouragement from everyone in the office. New bicycles are occasion for excitement at QuEST. For days after a new bike appears, we gather ‘round in admiration. Broken bikes, too, receive a lot of attention. If anything goes wrong with a bike, our engineers often volunteer to help out with fixing it so it’s rideable again. Recently the fender on my 1960s Raleigh snapped off, and by the next week my coworker John had repaired the fender and put it back on my bike. And just in time for puddle season! Many QuEST employees ride speedy new bikes without fenders, and some Friday mornings before work they even ride up in the Berkeley hills together. We welcome all types of bicyclists at QuEST, though. John and I ride old rattly bikes; Brendan rides his brother’s Schwinn; Steve rides the most sensible-looking bike I’ve ever seen; Colin, Jamie, Matt, and Derrick ride gorgeous shiny bikes that zip along at speeds my bike has never reached in its entire life; and sometimes Rachel and Irina hop on their bikes and brave the city streets all the way from Oakland! When that happens – when people who don’t ride often show up to work on a bike – we have mornings of congratulatory high-fives and appreciation of the unfamiliar bikes that often suit our coworkers’ personalities so well it’s hard to believe. Cycling is such an integral part of QuEST that we’re practically the definition of a bike-friendly business, and the company is a better place to work because of it.” Nomination by Janel Smart: “In 2010, at the request of cyclist staff, StopWaste expanded their indoor bike parking to be even more bike-friendly than before. We added 4 additional indoor bike racks (increasing indoor storage space by 65% for a total of 10 racks), and added 6 new hooks for hanging helmets, gloves, and wet clothes from rainy day rides. The bike area is conveniently located in prime real estate - just after the front door. There is a rolling door for easy access to the bike room, which also keeps our bikes and accessories safe while in storage. StopWaste is also an active participant in the commuter check program – though to my knowledge none of the cyclists take the $20/mo option, as all of us BART, too and the benefits are exclusive (unfortunately). Additionally, we have 24 hour keyless entry to our facility, which is conveniently located near 18th street Oakland BART. This provides theft-proof (and free!) indoor bike storage when we ride our bikes to work, then take BART or other.” Safeway Nomination by Sean Topping: “Safeway offers showers to its staff and a fitness center with spin lessons and exercise bikes to keep cycling employees in shape during winter. Bike lockers are located in parking garage and outside fitness center. Commuter check program is offered for all employees and this includes bike benefits. Safeway’s health benefits have fitness incentives that encourage physical activity, like cycling. Finally, Safeway hosts an Annual Fitness Challenge competition that encourages people to exercise and track their efforts.”

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